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Off-Season work

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by NewbieOwner, May 20, 2002.

  1. NewbieOwner

    NewbieOwner LawnSite Member
    from Alberta
    Messages: 61

    Ok, Time to start planning further (better than waiting to the last minute I guess!)

    So far, I'd been planning to just take a few months off over winter, spend some time getting things ready for spring. But thats probably not the best ideas in the world...

    So I did search, and I saw the usual suspects, Snow removal, plowing, pruning, and xmas light installs...

    Did I miss anything? Anyone in the snow-belt have other suggestions for things to do?

    I loved xmas light installs (that was fun)! But the franchise fee for christmas decor is a tad much to consider... Has anyone done this on their own? Tips/Suggestions/Suppliers?

    Snow removal and plowing, I'm not sure I want to get into this coming winter... Not knowing the climate (Just moved here, totally different climate) makes me leary of offering these services. I don't want to get in over my head then end up screwed. Of course it doesn't help my old employer kept complaining about loosing money at both every year, makes me even more affraid...

    If I do look at the snow/plowing, is there equipment I should be looking at in this seasons purchases (currently looking at a truck, mowers and hand held equipment)? I'm used to running gravely tractors w/ brooms for snow removal. Considering the problems we had with them, I doubt I'd choose to buy one. What other mowers can take winter implements? I know some walkers can, but I've never seen one used in the winter... Must be a reason?

  2. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,943

    I make more money off of 5-7 snowfalls than I make mowing 30 some weeks the rest of the year!

    I don't know much about Canada's territories, so don't know where Alberta is. I always assume Canada with SNOW and COLD, so I cant be too far off,...Right?

    I live outside Philly, so when it snows, the town is totally crippled! This may be why we can charge good rates for snowplowing. I heard the more snow your area gets, the less your able to charge. Just because it's "the way of life" up there.

    I would certainly suggest that you at least get a truck with a plow, and maybe a salt spreader (big $ maker). This way your at least "capable" of a winter income, even if its just plowing for a sub for $60/hr. I don't know many people with small machines that make what pickup truck plowers get, plus were in a heated cab all night while your out there freezing your tootsies off!

    Good Luck

    MATTHEW LawnSite Senior Member
    from NE OHIO
    Messages: 665

    I would rather be sitting in a warm cab making $60-$80/hr than 15' up a ladder in the winter. Think about it. You need to ask some pro's about your concerns. www.plowsite.com
  4. maple city

    maple city LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 305

    Here in Northern Indiana, we get quite a bit of snow. We bought a newer 3/4 ton 4 wheel drive truck and a brand new plow. We were lucky enough to pick up an apartment complex that paid well. We had no problem making our truck payments even though we had a fairly mild winter.

    If you do decide to plow, make sure you take into consideration the extra insurance required. Any large account you bid will want proof of insurance before they even consider you. You HAVE TO have a reliable truck and plow before you decide to take on plowing. If you are not able to get any large accounts, you won't want to spend the money to get set up ($20,000+ depending on your equipment). If you are going to do it, start looking for a truck now, because as fall approaches, the bigger 4 wheel drive trucks become harder to find. Don't even consider anything less than 3/4 ton trucks.

    We run a snowblower to clear off walks if the customer wants them done (costs extra).

    In addition to that, we do drywall work, painting, trim and moulding work, etc. during the winter months to keep us going.
  5. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,354

    one option is yearly contracts.
    my effort this yr will involve buying used equipment ,cleaning it up and reselling it on e bay mabe.
    im getting a pretty good inventory.
    we ll see how it works.
    best deal so far a weedeater trimmer for three dollars . a little knowhow and shes like new.probably ask 50 bucks when i start selling in november.
  6. ProSeasons

    ProSeasons LawnSite Member
    Messages: 84

    Newbie, listen to Matthew and get on over to www. plowsite.com and read up! If you like Lawn care, you're gonna love snow removal! The equipment you will need is long and extensive!:D The 3/4 truck your looking to get, an 8 foot plow and a snow shovel. (Whew! That's a lotta stuff!) It's just like building your lawn business, you can get a snow blower and a Broomer later. What's the overhead? The plow sits behind your garage during mowing season. Shoot, do the Christmas light thing, too. You'll have time, it don't snow everyday!( unless you live in Buffalo!)
  7. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,411

    Agree 100%. I make as much plowing 10 days in the winter as I do mowing 180 days the rest of the year.

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